Guillermo del Toro Says He Would’ve Made ‘Scary Stories’ ‘the Exact Opposite Way’

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark  was a horror hit this summer. Now you can watch it at home on digital, and on Tuesday, November 5, it comes to DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD with bonus features taking you behind the scenes. The film’s producer, Guillermo del Toro, speaks in many of the bonus features about how they brought the scary storybook to life.

Guillermo del Toro | Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for CBS Films

Showbiz Cheat Sheet got an early copy of the Blu-ray so we watched all the bonus features to see what secrets Guillermo del Toro shared. Here are a few things del Toro said in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark bonus features and you can learn from from him, the cast and director Andre Ovredal on DVD, Blu-ray or 4K too.

Guillermo del Toro would have made the opposite ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Nobody directs like Guillermo del Toro, even when del Toro produces the movie for them. Del Toro supported Andre Ovredal’s vision even though it was the opposite of his own. 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Blu-ray
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Blu-ray | CBS Films/Lionsgate

“I had a discussion with Andre about the style of the film,” Del Toro said. “He said, ‘I want the realistic to be real so that the extraordinary can pop more.’ That’s exactly the opposite way that I would have done it but I knew the moment he said it he was right.”

Why ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ stand the test of time

It took decades for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to become a movie. The book has lasted this long, and will continue to last for generations along with the movie, for this reason.

Austin Zajur in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Austin Zajur in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark | CBS Films/Lionsgate.

“The beauty of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books is that they have the simplicity of a campfire tale,” Del Toro said. “They span two or three generations. This is what scared me as a kid and they’re still entertaining. Some of these characters are not just a monster. They have personality. They have intention. They have intelligence.”

Why scaring kids is important

The protagonists of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark are teenagers, and the film was rated PG-13 so real kids could face their fears. This is a consistent theme with Guillermo del Toro’s films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.

Natalie Ganzhorn in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Natalie Ganzhorn in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark | CBS Films/Lionsgate

“In every movie I direct or produce that involves children confronting something terrible, the consequences are very real,” del Toro said. “Fairy tales and horror for me go hand in hand. The more you use them to reflect the real world in which there are consequences is important.”

How Guillermo del Toro brought the illustrations of ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ to life

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark featured illustrations by Stephen Gammell. A creature expert himself, Guillermo del Toro led his team in creating three dimensional makeups for the performers to wear in the film, for example Harold the scarecrow in the cornfield. 

Harold in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Harold in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark | CBS Films

“We went with the illustration which is black and white but we made him very monochrome, very drained of color,” Del Toro said. “Harold has been in the sun for a while so he’s kind of bleached and dirty and has bugs living inside of him.”

Stephen Gammell Pale Lady illustration
Stephen Gammell’s Pale Lady illustration | CBS Films

The Pale Woman in the film still has the same face as the illustration.

“The Pale Woman has a being pleasing little smile but that’s what makes her very creepy,” del Toro said.